Centre College to build new plaza and clock tower with carillon

by Michael Strysick

Centre College News

The largest-ever construction project at Centre College, devoted to wellness and athletic excellence, will now include an equally impressive clock tower with carillon in the center of an expansive plaza that will serve a variety of College activities and enrich community building on campus.

Made possible by an anonymous gift, the generous donation was given “in grateful appreciation for an education that transformed the donor’s life,” said Centre President Milton C. Moreland.

“This project will enhance what is already recognized as one of the nation’s most beautiful campuses,” Moreland added, “and provide a landmark and a central community space for the transformational living and learning experiences that occur at Centre.”

Inspired by buildings that date back to the early nineteenth century, the new plaza will connect the heart of the historic campus to Centre’s extensive and contemporary athletics facilities by using complementary materials and landscaping. In the process, this will create a new campus synergy by uniting the College’s science labs, learning commons, library and faculty offices with a world-class natatorium, fieldhouse and wellness center.

Design elements will include seating for studying and class meetings in small garden areas, gathering spaces beneath and around the clock tower on a raised central pedestal, a new south entry into Crounse Hall and Grace Doherty Library, and a large, raised platform that can also be used as a stage for concerts, convocations and other events.

The clock tower’s carillon will also be able to play Centre’s alma mater and athletic fight song, along with a variety of traditional and contemporary music.

An existing parking lot will be redeveloped to create the plaza, which will be the setting for everything from casual weekday uses, student life activities and graduation, to gameday events for the College’s 24 intercollegiate sports. The pedestrian-friendly plaza area will also serve as a drop-off zone for guests and visitors.

In keeping with the focus on sustainability being engineered into the larger, 135,000-square-foot Initiative for Wellness and Athletic Excellence (IWAE) project, the plaza will incorporate similar elements, such as native vegetation planting and paving designed to reduce storm water runoff.

MSA Design, whose MSA Sport division is architect of the IWAE project, is leading the effort, with the Verdin Company of Cincinnati creating the clock tower and carillon.

Construction of the plaza and clock tower will begin in early 2022. Completion is targeted for August and the start of the 2022-2023 academic year.